APP01-08 ISLAMABAD: January 07 - Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood addressing during launching ceremony of Apprenticeship Act 2018,Capacity Building & Implementation organized by National Vocational and Technical Training. APP photo by Saeed-ul-Mulk

ISLAMABAD, Jan 8 (APP):Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood Tuesday announced the opening of a first-ever national skill varsity in the federal capital within a couple of months aimed at giving a boost to the vocational and technical educations across the country.This was announced by the minister during a conference 'Apprenticeship Act, 2018- Awareness, Capacity Building & Implementation' held here to launch Apprenticeship Act, 2018.
"The varsity is likely to be operational in two to three months and will be generating a set of skill-equipped youth for internal and external job markets," he informed the audience of event.
Pointing out the previous regimes' reluctance to promote vocational and technical institutions, he said the country was producing over 2.5 million youth bulge for the local job markets but unfortunately majority of them were lacking basic set of skills demanded by the latter.
He expressed his disappointment over the high rate unemployment in the country and regretted that most of PhD holders were striving hard to find out a job due to system's failures.
He stressed the need for promoting apprenticeship culture in the industrial sector as the world's industries, brought revolutionary changes in the industrial areas by embracing modern technologies, demanded skill workforce.
He urged the National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC) to establish liaisons with the operational industries to determine their skills' requirement and to give a muscle boost to formal and informal apprenticeship programmes by ensuring award of formal certificates which help them to have quick employment.
Underlining his government's future endeavours, he said the NAVTTC under his ministry would set the standards for other institutions and would take different measure to support the public-private partnership across the country. 
He said they would introduce formal certification which would be recognized at domestic and global level and warning certain institutions, involved in issuing bogus certificates said a strict action would be taken against such elements.
An international consultant from the United Kingdom and the author of “Apprenticeship in
Pakistan: a handbook and guide” distributed among the ceremony's participants,Simon Perryman said apprenticeship proved to be a weapon for preparing future workforce for the country in the United Kingdom and appreciated the role of industries encouraging the practice in Karachi and Lahore.
Pakistani youth had huge potential and was making all attempts to get education he said and added "The country's relevant stakeholders need to scale up their efforts for ensuring all required facilities to the departments concerned.
Chairman NAVTTC, Syed Javed Hassan said that building a skill-based youth to enhance industrial productivity which would eventually help in national development and emphasized on active participation of industries in supporting apprenticeship. The country was lagging far behind in this regard and complained that the previous governments' had given less attention and resources to this sector.
The executive director NAVTTC, Dr. Nasir Khan, said Pakistan was currently facing a huge gap between supply and demand of skilled workforce. “Our annual demand for skilled workforce in the local market is around 1 million while the system has the capacity to produce only 445,000 labour force and if we include the requirements of CPEC related projects and international job market then the total annual demand reaches up to 2 million”, he said. 
He said the total number of apprentices trained by the industry annually was only 40,000 while there are around 70,000 registered industries in Pakistan, he added.
"Over 73% of our total labour force comes from informal sector so we need to bring them into the mainstream economy through Recognition of Prior Learning, Nasir said.

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